Something Stinks, but it’s not Roses. Roses No Longer Smell

This past weekend, I spoke with the people in charge of procuring roses for Disney’s Grand Floridian. Their roses are huge and stunning to look at. One of the florists gave me a large, beautiful rose. My gut reaction was to sniff it, and that’s when I discovered the stinky truth, roses no longer have a smell!

One week old, commercially grown rose from the Grand Floridian hotel.

Why don’t roses have a smell anymore, and isn’t the smell part of the absolute pleasure of receiving roses? Roses tend to die quickly, which isn’t great if you need them to last for at least a week. Commercial rose breeders have found a way to breed roses for size and durability. You may have noticed over the years that large roses are commonplace, and after a week, they still look the same as the first day you got them.

Stunning commercial roses look great but don’t have an actual smell.

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How did that happen? I remember getting roses, and within three days, they were done. Commercial rose breeders have found a way to fix this problem, but the unfortunate downside is that roses no longer have a smell. As the expression goes, a rose by any other name is just as sweet but are they as sweet without a scent? 

Bonnie Jones, from Delray Beach, found this accidental rose hybrid in her rose garden. You won’t see this at a store but is its natural beauty any less perfect? This one also had a gorgeous fragrance.

Why don’t roses smell like they used to? According to The Real Flower Company in the UK;

“Most roses grown for the cut flower market have to travel hundreds of miles to reach the shops, so inevitably their toughness has been valued by commercial growers more than their fragrance. Similarly, many commercial rose breeders have bred their rose varieties for their appearance, durability, and vase life rather than their smell. As a result, the scent of roses has suffered and become an afterthought, and many rose varieties bred for the cut flower market have lost their scent altogether. Wild roses could not survive without their scent, which attracts bees to pollinate its flower. In cultivated roses, the scent has no reproductive function; it’s only for our pleasure. So if commercial roses lose their scent, it’s too bad. But if a wild rose lost its smell, it would die out!”

Scented roses are coveted more than ever. Your best bet is to either grow them yourself or find a friend who grows them. Lisa Furnari, the wife of Florida Jolt founder Jack Furnari, grows a wide variety of beautiful roses in her garden. Her favorites are the Grande Dame and Lagerfeld.

Lisa Furnari’s Grand Dame roses from her very own garden.

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Lisa has this to say to those who are considering growing roses;

“Once you start growing roses, it’s such a joy but very challenging in our hot and humid climate. All the different varieties, their colors, scents, and petals make them endlessly beautiful to grow.”~Emerald Lisa Furnari

Rose photo
A Don Juan rose from Furnari’s garden.

The Grand Floridian florist told me that commercial breeders are starting to add scent back into the roses. Who knows if it will be the same as the natural scent? This is why,  as time has passed, people like Lisa Furnari are growing roses. 

You can grow huge roses yourself, and they will have a beautiful scent.

If you’re interested in starting your rose garden, Furnari says they need six hours of full sun daily, so the location is the most important. Then order roses that can grow in the zone where you live. Her zone in Boca is Zone 10. 

For more inspiration, look at the YouTube channel Roses from Tallahassee. 


Other stories you may want to read:

Tracy Caruso: From What I Can Tell, Disney World is Woke No More

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